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events may have, of course, pushed consumers to spend less this season including hurricane sandy and concerns about how tax hikes from the fiscal cliff could impact their wallets. joining us for more on the numbers is michael mcnamara of mastercard advisers. great to have you with us. many analysts, retailers had high hopes for the season. i think it's looking weaker than expected. of course we had hurricane sandy and we're dealing with the fiscal cliff, as well. what do you think the big driver was of these slower growth numbers? >> well, good morning. yes, you hit on two of the big ones. really the season tripped coming out of the starting gate with hurricane sandy. the impact in the northeast and mid-atlantic, both those regions of the country actually had negative holiday seasons for the holiday-related sectors that we track. other areas of the country that were not impacted by significant weather in the southeast, south central, mountain and west, were up 2% to 4% year over year. so really depended on where you were in the country, how but during the holiday season. >> okay.
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